From the first few seconds of Glass Swords you can discern a similar magpie-like attitude to sounds, the same ear for wonky hip-hop, and ‘aquacrunk,’ as friend and fellow Glaswegian, Hudson Mohawke. You’re swept along with the energy. This album sounds like a history of electronic music distilled through the brain of a teenage xBox fanatic. This is a mind bendingly good thing.
From the title shimmering opener (possibly played on a keytar?!) we rapidly move through spaced-out riffage, slap bass funk, insistent synths, hands-in-the-air-party bangers, 8-bit effects, and lots of hand claps, often all at the same time. That idea of ‘rapidly moving on’ is key. Rustie’s apparent inability to sit still means everything is filigreed with tweets, twinkles and half heard vocal snippets.
I don’t know if it has just took my brain this long to comprehend what was going on but Glass Swords really hits its stride about half way through. Ultra Thizz really feels the most filled out track here, internally consistent and coherent. The album isn’t as one note as you might think though. The tempo and mood is varied enough across these 13 tracks that you do get to experience more than just audio-ADHD. It is testament to his abilities as a producer that he manages to stamp an identity over tracks that are only similar in that they are all all over the place.
Even after the cat has been let out of the bag, Glass Swords is very good at coiling itself up again. Tension builds before it is released once more. The judicious deployment of slow builders, such as After Light, in amongst the more insistent tracks still maintain the energy but allow room to breath before we’re thrown back in the deep end. Every track is immensely good fun. Album closer Crystal Echo finishes with a fade out, not the expected bang, but perhaps that is simply the listener being wrong footed once again.
Nothing here feels particularly long, and in a non-backhanded compliment kind of way, that is a good thing, as nothing outstays its welcome. The sheer unbridled, restless imagination here is held in check by clean Timbaland-like production and results in an album that walks a fine between messy and thrilling. You’re left with a feeling that you aren’t entirely sure what they hell just happened but you definitely enjoyed it.
You can buy Glass Swords from the lovely people at Bleep.
This post originally appeared on The What Where When on 3 October 2011